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FG, AfDB In $300m Agric Loan Deal

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The African Develop
ment Bank (AfDB) and the Federal Government of Nigeria are planning for long-term solutions to youth unemployment in the agricultural sector. They will spend about US $300million on the Enable Youth Empowerment Agribusiness Programme.
The project is to be implemented in partnership (AfDB with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) within  18 months.
AfDB’s Director of Agriculture and Agroindustry, Chiji Ojukwu, disclosed this information with top authorities in Nigeria’s Agriculture Ministry in Abuja recently.
The scope and impact of this initiative would create 250,000 jobs. The beneficiaries would be trained at various incubation centres on all aspects of value chains, with each beneficiary of the project supported with about $75,000.
According to Ojukwu, the three-year project would enable training and funding of young graduates, who are interested in farming across the country.
“A total of US $300million would be accessed to cover the three-year project which would bring young graduate together and train them for 18 months as entrepreneur farmers,” he said.
In a statement by the ministry’s Director of Information, Tony Ohaeri, the Agriculture Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh disclosed that the project would commence from the three Federal Universities of Agriculture in the country.
The initiative would create 250,000 jobs in all aspects of values chain and it would cover the 36 states including Abuja while the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) would be expanded through the processing zones.
The minister, in his remark, emphasized the need for the three universities of agriculture in Umudike, Makurdi and Abeokuta respectively to revert back to the provisions of the Act that established them.
Ogbeh advised the country to reinvent her own economic strategy to revive its economy.
He stated that the strength of a nation lies in the population of the youth and expressed concern on the rate of youth unemployment in the country, saying, “we need to take care of them before they take care of us.”
He promised to collaborate with representatives of AfDB and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture IITA, who came to present him the concept note on the youth agriculture scheme.
However, the minister tasked the IITA to intensify efforts towards researching  into the conversion of cassava leaves into animal feeds, while some components of the Labour Intensive Farming Enterprise  (LIFE) of the ministry could be built into the youth empowerment initiative.
IITA Director-General, Nterayana Saginga, called for a change in the mindset of the young unemployed graduates revealing that they could make good turnover on their investments.
He pledgedthe readiness of IITA to provide necessary support to the ministry.

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Don Advocates Diversity for Economic Growth

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A university Don, Professor Anthony U. Nnodim, has called on companies to diversify in other to be economically relevant to society.
Prof Nnodim, who made the call, Thursday, at the first National Conference of the Association for Encouraging Qualitative Functional Education in Nigeria, in collaboration with Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic Women Association, Port Harcourt, said any company that does not diversify will easily ‘die’.
According to him, the phrase, “diversify of die”, amounts to a warning to corporate organisations of the danger of staying the same place for too long.
He said it is “a reminder that to avoid stagnation, companies must innovate. In today’s global environment, diversity is the bedrock of innovation.
“Diverse and inclusive team is the engine room within which innovations develop through the combination of desperate ideas and desciplines in ways that look weird in the first instance, but culminate into emergence of real innovation”, he said.
Nnodim, who made the call in his Keynote address tittled, “Innovation and Diversification: Issues and Prospects in a Global Environment “, said diversification has numerous prospects.
One of the key prospects, he said, is that diversification improves critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
This, he explained, “would provoke critical thinking that provides alternative approaches to finding solutions to identified problems”.
Other prospects, he continued, include enhanced employees growth and development, unification of diversified strength, and encouragement of innovations.
In her Keynote address, Prof. Margaret E. Akpomi harped on the need for Nigeria to emulate what she called “the Australian Model of Education” christened “Technical And Functional Education (TAFE).
“What it (TAFE) does is that they first of all identify the needs of the society, and then they build-in the needs of the society into the curriculum, and it is with that they bring up their citizens to fill in various manpower positions in the society. We can borrow a leaf from here”, she said.
In her welcome address, the President, Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic Women Association (CEAPOWA), Dr. Victoria O. Sam-Kalagbo, explained that the conference, with the theme, “Innovation and Diversities: Issues and Prospects in a Global Environment “, is in line with the CEAPOWA’s objective of contributing to societal growth.
“The aims and objectives of CEAPOWA are, among others, to organize conferences, workshops, seminars and symposia aimed at impacting positively on Members of the association, the entire polytechnic community, and society at large.
“This conference provides a rare platform for scholars in various disciplines to examine and prescribe practical innovative and diversified strategies, approaches, and mechanisms to contain the multifarious global threats and challenges in education, economy, politics, business, technology, Entrepreneurship, etc.”, She said.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
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NECA Wants Forex Allocation Prioritisation To Manufacturers 

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The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to give priority of allocation of available forex to manufacturing and other productive sectors of the economy as forex scarcity persists.
Director-General, NECA, Mr Wale Oyerinde, while speaking on the state of the economy in Lagos, called for a holistic and multi-pronged approach towards resolving the challenges faced by the nation.
He urged the Federal Government, as a matter of urgency, to  encourage the development of modular refineries as a precursor to total subsidy removal.
Oyerinde said, “In the medium term, the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, fix the four national refineries and encourage the development of modular ones as a precursor to total removal of fuel subsidy.
“With over N5tn budgeted for subsidy payment in 2022, an amount larger than the budget for education and agriculture, this is unrealistic and unsustainable.
“Economic interventions aimed at improving living standards (to stimulate consumption) and enterprise sustainability (to promote job creation) should be implemented.
“While forex scarcity persists, allocation of the available forex to manufacturing and other productive sectors of the economy should be given priority.”
According to him, this was better time for the government to deepen its engagement with the Organised Private Sector, adding that the government’s efforts to salvage the economy was commendable.
He said “the nation is currently faced with multiple challenges, with dire combination of spiraling inflation, rising energy cost (aviation fuel, diesel, etc.), scarcity of forex, dwindling value of the naira, an almost comatose aviation sector, stuttering education system, rising debt, depleting foreign reserve and rising fuel subsidy expenses among others, which threatens to lay bare the country’s economy.
“There is no better time for government to reappraise current economic policies and deepen its engagement with the Organized Private Sector. While Government’s effort to salvage the economy is commendable, there is, however, need for a More holistic approach to resuscitate the stuttering economy”, he said.

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Agency Puts Nigeria’s Gas Flaring Losses At N891bn

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The Nigerian Oil Spill Monitor, a sub of the Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), has put the losses in gas flaring in Nigerian at N891 billion.
The oil spill agency in a release on Sunday said Nigeria lost N891 billion to gas flaring in 18 months.
It revealed that the country lost a total of N707 billion in 2021 and N184 billion in the first half of 2022, totaling N891 billion.
According to the NOSDRA report, oil and gas companies operating in the country flared a total of 126 billion standard cubic feet (SCF) of gas in the first half of 2022, leading to a loss of $441.2million (about N183.54 bn) in the six-month period.
On the other hand, in 2021, about 23,862.271 barrels of oil (3,770,238.864 litres/119 tanker trucks) were spilled.
Brent International was sold for an average of $71 per barrel in 2021, bringing total revenue loss in that year to $1.7million
The estimation put the equivalent of the volume of gas flared in the first half of 2022 to carbon dioxide, CO2 emission of 6.7 million tonnes in the oil producing areas, which was 4.56 per cent higher than the 120.5 billion SCF of gas flared in the second half of 2021, and capable of generating 12,600 gigawatts hours of electricity.
Also, the quantity of gas flared in the first six months of 2021 was capable of generating 14,000 gigawatt-hour of electricity, and an equivalent of 7.4 million tonnes of CO2 emission.
Giving a breakdown of the gas flared in the country in the first six months of 2022, the agency disclosed that while companies operating in the offshore oilfields flared 62.2 billion SCF of gas, companies operating onshore flared 63.9 billion SCF of gas, valued at $223.6 million.
In 2021, there were around 382 publicly available oil spill records. Out of the 382 occurrences, a total of 33 of these oil spill sites were not visited by a joint investigation team, and 122 of these had no estimated quantity of oil spilled provided by the companies involved.
Two major oil spills were recorded in 2021, with over 250 barrels spilled into inland waters, or over 2,500 barrels spilled on land, swamp, shoreline and open sea, the report said.

By: Corlins Walter

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